Every year in the United States–Texas included–too many people are killed or severely injured in traffic accidents. It doesn’t matter if it is a fatal head-on collision or other traffic accident; it seems that highway crashes, accidents, and wrecks are inevitable. Unfortunately, many of these accidents end in a highway fatality. It doesn’t matter if you are in a truck, a car, or on a motorcycle.
Highway Fatality Rate is Down
Fortunately, highway fatality rates have been decreasing. This is mainly due to improvements vehicle safety features, such as the stability control; collision avoidance systems; and automatic braking. Vehicle manufacturers have increasingly stepped up the minimum safety features for their models over the last few years.
However, accidents and injuries are still a huge problem. In 2013 the highway fatality crash rate was roughly 30,057. In Texas alone, the fatal crash rate was about 3,044. There are several reasons for these highway fatalities, including drivers being distracted, or driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
So why are there so many accidents? Driving with distraction has quickly become one of the most common causes of accidents and highway fatalities. Text messaging while driving is the largest distraction and one of the main causes of all accidents as of 2014. Also, using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving have increased the crash rate. Just the act of reaching for these devices increases the chance of an accident by three times the normal amount.
This is also one of the easiest things to remedy, and flat out prevent. Simply leaving these devises alone while driving or pulling over to use them greatly reduces the chance of a fatal accident.
Other Factors That Cause Accidents
Another common factor in fatalities is driving while under the influence of alcohol and other substances. Use of these substances severely decreases your awareness and thinking abilities, especially in circumstances that involve quick action. The effect of these substances impairs your judgment and decreases your natural reflexes.
Road conditions and weather conditions can also cause accidents. The problem occurs when drivers do not adjust their driving habits to match the conditions. Water can make roads slick and hide large pot holes, and wind can cause high profile vehicles to turn over.
Reckless driving and speeding are high risk factors as well. When drivers are in a hurry or just careless, the possibilities of accidents increase. Many of these accidents are caused by speeding, tailgating, and changing lanes either too quickly or without signaling.
Factors That Decrease Crash Rates
Factors that can decrease highway fatality rates include increased laws against both drunk driving and distracted driving. Fines for such distractions as text messaging are high, making them just as much as a speeding ticket. There are also stronger limits on teen driving. These limits are vital, as the crash rate for teens and people in their 20’s are the highest.
Improvements in road and highway safety are also helping to decrease the fatality and crash rates. There is hope for a continued decrease in the highway fatality rate, to the point where a day without a fatal crash would happen more often than a day with one.